Annual human rights festival highlights refugee crisis and homelessness

Tuesday, 07 March 2017

OxHRF 2017

Next week Oxford Brookes University will highlight key issues happening across the world right now in the annual Oxford Human Rights Festival.

In its 15th year the festival has become a cherished tradition and a significant event at the University. This year BAFTA-wining director Ken Loach will be visiting the University to kick off the festival.

The theme of the Oxford Human Rights Festival is ‘Home’ and poses the question “What does home mean to you?” It will explore key issues surrounding this question, including the refugee crisis, the housing crisis, indigenous rights and homelessness.

The festival runs from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 March at Oxford Brookes’ Headington Campus with all events free and open to everyone. A varied programme is on offer with influential screenings and Q&A sessions with the directors and producers, performances and an exhibition in the University’s Glass Tank.

Spreading awareness especially in such an international and diverse environment like Oxford Brookes feels like the perfect setting.

Barbara Dirrheimer, Undergraduate student in Marketing Management


  • 14 March: Screening award-winning film I, Daniel Blake (2016) and Q&A session with renowned director Ken Loach
  • On display until 24 March: Glass Tank exhibition ‘HOME’ - the centrepiece of the festival it showcases an emergency shelter provided by humanitarian organisation ShelterBox and includes photographs by Sea of Humanity who have worked in Europe with refugees. There is original artwork by refugees who have fled their homelands and found a safe haven here in the UK plus sculptures from artist Jo Scorah who has roots in Syria
  • 16 March: Screening of Queens of Syria (2014), in partnership with the Oxford Brookes Documentary Club (OBUDOC), followed by Q&A with producer Georgia Paget
  • 16 March: Performance of Write to Life: The A-Z of Poverty by charity Freedom from Torture – a project which gives a voice to refugees who have arrived in this country and invites them to share their stories of fleeing terror and creating new homes here
  • 18 March: Screening of acclaimed film Hector (2015) and Q&A with director Jake Gavin.

The full programme of events and more information about the festival can be found online at

The festival is an initiative of Oxford Brookes students from the MA Development and Emergency Practice and MArchD Architectural Design courses. This year they are joined by students from Film Studies, International Relations and Marketing Management undergraduate courses.

Sea of humanity

Barbara Dirrheimer, an undergraduate student in Marketing Management said: “I have always been interested in human rights and spreading awareness for issues like inequality. In the situation the world is in right now I feel even more strongly that everyone needs to speak up about their beliefs and this is why I'm so excited to be a part of the Oxford Human Rights Festival.

“Spreading awareness especially in such an international and diverse environment like Oxford Brookes feels like the perfect setting. It is amazing to help give the chance to organisations to talk about their daily work in trying to provide people with homes, whether it's in the UK, Europe or in refugee camps around the world. Everyone should listen to those stories.”

Events are popular so to guarantee a place book your free tickets online at Eventbrite or contact

Keep up to date with events on Facebook or Twitter @OxHRF or follow them on Instagram.

Image: Sea of Humanity